January 3 (Nehemiah 8:10)
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (ESV)
Those who know me well know that I am a huge fan of the metal band Stryper. In the title track to their platinum-selling album To Hell With The Devil, lead singer Michael Sweet sings, “Well speak of the devil, he’s no friend of mine. To turn from him is what we have in mind. Just a liar and a thief, the word tells us so. We’d like to let him know where he can go.” This is where I am at the start of this year.
I read the news and begin to lose my joy. I see and hear the problems in my profession and begin to lose my joy. I come home tired from just another day of life and begin to lose my joy. Enough of that! When we experience a loss of joy, it is because our enemy is playing on our fears, playing on our exhaustion, and we are letting it happen. There is a proper place for him, and it is not in my life.
Scripture is clear. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Read that again. The joy of the Lord is our strength. I want to start this year strong. I want to reclaim the joy that is mine as a child of God. I want this so much that I compiled for my family a list of Scriptures dealing with joy, and these will likely make their way into many of the devotions this year. So what do you think? Grim and weak or joyful and strong? The choice is yours.
Lord Jesus, I turn my eyes to You, looking fully into Your wonderful face. May the light of Your glory and grace fill me with joy and equip me to answer Your call on my life with strength. Amen.
Copyright © 2016 by Steven R. Perkins